Sharp is producing the screen for Apple's next iPhone, and will have it ready to ship this month, the Japanese company said in a press briefing in Tokyo yesterday.
According to Reuters, which was in attendance at the event, Sharp president Takashi Okuda told reporters that "shipments will start in August" for the screen for the upcoming Apple phone, widely presumed to be the iPhone 5. When pressed for more details on the device's screen, including how large it might be, he declined to comment, according to Reuters.
However, Reuters has reported, citing a source, that the screen measures 4 inches, making it notably larger than the current iPhone's 3.5-inch display. Numerous reports have suggested that the iPhone 5 will come with a 4-inch display, though it's believed that the device itself won't be any wider. Instead, Apple has reportedly made the display taller, extending its available screen space.
Although the iPhone 5's screen specs haven't been divulged, it's possible that the display is based on Sharp's IGZO technology, which delivers lower energy consumption and increased pixel transparency. Sharp announced in April that it is bringing its IGZO technology to mobile devices, igniting rumours that Apple might be one of the first beneficiaries of that. Neither company has said whether IGZO will be offered in the next iPhone.
Still, the news of Sharp shipping displays this month indicates that the iPhone 5 is marching towards a 2012 launch. Exactly when the device will launch remains to be seen, but the latest rumour suggests that Apple will unveil the handset on 12 September , and then launch it nine days later, on 21 September. Apple, of course, has stayed mum on that possibility.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment on Okuda's statement. We will update this story when we have more information.